Afrikaans film ‘Skoonheid’ Wins The Queer Palm 2011

OK, so ‘Skoonheid‘ didn’t win in its official category at the Cannes Film Festival  (Un Certain Regard), BUT it has won the Queer Palm 2011! The award was presented to director Oliver Hermanus last night at a ceremony on Cherie Cheri Beach in Cannes.

“Thank you to the organizers and to the jury of this very important award for cinema,” said Oliver. “When we made this film we were definitly challenging some radical issues in South Africa, and I’m very happy to have the confidence as there in Cannes. We want to show it in South Africa but we know it will be a challenging film for the audience because it deals with someone who refuses to accept his sexuality which is, I think, happening in all countries in the world, people refuse to accept who they are. I think it’s really amazing to have an award like this which celebrates who we are. Thank you very much, merci beaucoup !”

Director Oliver Hermanus accepts the Queer Palm Award for Afrikaans film 'Skoonheid'

Director Oliver Hermanus accepts the Queer Palm Award for Afrikaans film 'Skoonheid'. Source: Queer Palm

‘Skoonheid’, which is the first Afrikaans film to be screened at Cannes, is about a middle-aged Afrikaans man, Francois, struggling to find happiness. He lives a tightly controlled life with his family in Bloemfontein which unravels when he becomes infatuated with the young son of a long-lost friend.

Deon Lotz in 'Skoonheid'

Deon Lotz in 'Skoonheid', which has just won the Queer Palm 2011 in Cannes

The Queer Palm is awarded to the film with excellent artistic qualities and that deals best with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transexual issues. Last year ‘Kaboom’ was the winner.

French journalist (Premiere) Elisabeth Quin, said: “We were struck and marked by this film about self-hate, homophobia and racism. ‘Skoonheid’ is a disturbing, radical film, real cinema.”

The Queer Palm jury included Quin, jury president Marie Colmant (from Canal+, one of France’s top TV channels); as well as Gérard Lefort (Libération),  Thomas Abeltshauser (Männer, Winq, Vanity Fair, Die Welt), Roberto Schinardi (Pride, Gay.it, Il Manifesto), Fred Arends (Festival Pink Screens / Bruxelles) and Esther Cuénot (Festival Cinémarges / Bordeaux).

Hermanus was given the award last night by actress Julie Gayet and director Joao Pedro Rodrigues.